St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 3, 2013 – Social media has become a critical branding tool for volunteer recruitment and funding, but the way it is used can mean the difference between success and failure for a nonprofit. That was the message from speakers at the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 11th annual Charity Symposium, attended by nearly 150 people Thursday at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.
Gretchen Jameson, founder of Pure PR, makes a point at Thursday's Symposium.
Symposium participants discuss social media best practices.
Key is finding the best ways for charities to engage with potential supporters and donors without trying to force their messages.
“It’s not about you,” said Gretchen Jameson, founder of Pure PR. Instead, she said, it is about finding ways to connect to your community by making yourself an integral part of people’s lives.
Leilani Carver, director of Maryville University’s master’s program in strategic communications and leadership, said each generation has unique values and unique ways they prefer to get their information. “Social media is about communicating with stakeholders on their terms,” she said.
Jim Manis, chairman and chief executive of the Mobile Giving Foundation, described wireless technology as “ever-evolving” and said that messaging and text-based donations “leverage both communications and billing into a seamless user experience.”
Ryan Farmer, communications coordinator of St. Louis Area Foodbank, said any successful social media program must include commitment and a buy-in from the nonprofit’s decision makers. He noted that social media is changing rapidly, and good nonprofits have to be flexible enough to change with the times.
Joe Schmelzle, chairman of the BBB Board of Directors and senior director for agency development and customer service at United Van Lines, welcomed attendees and noted that the BBB has accredited 188 charities in our region, organizations that meet all 20 Standards of Charity Accountability.
For more information on the BBB’s Charity Information Service call 314-645-3300 or go to www.bbb.org.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org; Chris Thetford, Vice President - Communications & Marketing, 314-584-6743 or 314-681-4719 (cell), email@example.com, or Carole Bellman, Director of Charity Review, 314-584-6735, firstname.lastname@example.org